The Indian Navy's first MiG-29K squadron, INAS 303 'Black Panthers' will be commissioned into service today at INS Hansa, the Navy's premier aviation hub in Goa on India's West Coast. The day marks 60 years of Indian naval aviation.
From the Indian Navy's statement today: "Born as a fledgling aviation arm of a small Navy, Naval aviation quickly grew to become the centre piece of Indian Navy’s combat power. Envisioned by bold and wise leaders, an aircraft carrier capable Navy has grown from strength to strength with its aviation arm proving its prowess over the last sixty years. Marking time from the commissioning of the first Naval Air Station INS Garuda at Kochi on 11 May 1953, Naval Aviation completes sixty glorious years of service today. From a fledgling arm with a mere six amphibian aircraft, the arm has grown exponentially over the last sixty years to operate over 200 aircraft including fighters, Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles as well. A truly potent and capable naval aviation."
A big congratulations to officers and all ranks at INAS 303 and the Indian Navy's superb aviators. Shano Varuna!